HomeAmericasCommunityAnnual Chariot Festival Celebrated By Odia Community In Fremont

Annual Chariot Festival Celebrated By Odia Community In Fremont

Annual Chariot Festival Celebrated By Odia Community In Fremont

Annual Chariot Festival Celebrated By Odia Community In Fremont

India-West Staff Reporter

FREMONT, CA – The Odia community of the San Francisco Bay Area came together to celebrate the annual Sri Jagannath Paribar Ratha Jatra, also known as the Chariot Festival, on the afternoon of July 6. The event, organized by the Jagannath Cultural and Educational Center (JCEC), took place at the Niles, Fremont Asthalakshmi temple premises, drawing over 1,100 devotees who participated with great enthusiasm.

The festivities commenced with the reverberating chants of Vedic mantras led by the temple priest, setting a sacred tone for the event. This was followed by a captivating kirtan that elevated the spiritual atmosphere. As is tradition, during the Ratha Yatra, the deities Sri Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Maa Subhadra, along with Sudarshana, embarked on their chariot journey to visit their aunt’s house.

Marking its fourth year, the JCEC’s Ratha Jatra showcased a magnificent display of Odia culture, featuring Odissi dance, live music, paintings, and devotional songs. Musicians and artists from India, along with local singers, performed devotional bhajans, adding to the vibrant and spirited celebration despite the heat wave.

JCEC volunteers meticulously decorated the chariot, adhering to traditional architecture and symbols, and adorned it with unique and intricate “pattachitra” artworks created by local artists.

The event also saw the presence of several city leaders and Indian community dignitaries. Notable attendees included Assemblymember Alex Lee, Fremont Council Member and Past Vice Mayor Dr. Raj Salwan, Fremont Council Member Teresa Cox, Santa Clara Council Member and Past Vice Mayor Raj Chahal, Sunnyvale Vice Mayor Murali Srinivas, Milpitas Council Member Hon Lien, and Milpitas School Board Member Anu Nakka.

The JCEC aims to showcase the rich Jagannath culture of Odisha. Additionally, the center serves as a support system for philanthropic and charitable activities within the local community. The JCEC facilitates fundraising events, food, and clothing drives for Bay Area shelters, and provides hot lunches to devotees and underprivileged children in the region.

Looking ahead, the JCEC plans to build a community center for the Odia community in Pleasanton, having already purchased land for this purpose.

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